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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  June 23, 2012 7:00am-9:00am PDT

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this is your moment. let nothing stand in your way. devry university, proud to support the education of our u.s. olympic team. this morning, my question, what's more important? political posturing or the help of seventh graders? plus, the farm bill ensures that cereal makers have their corn swirp, but it won't make sure hungry kids have cereal for breakfast, but first, guilty. former penn state coach jerry sandusky will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison. good morning. as jerry sandusky was led out of the courthouse in handcuffs late
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last night, the gathered crowds cheered and the once revered penn state coordinator was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse. sandusky's story is one of both heinous crimes and utter institutional failure to protect our children. but this is also the power of the story of survivors, those who chose to come forward. and by putting sandusky away, made sure that no one else will ever be his victim. i'm joined now by -- first, let me bring in nbc news correspondent, ron allen, who's in belafonte, pennsylvania. hi, ron. >> reporter: good morning. how are you? >> i'm doing okay. obviously, everyone's eyes have been on belafonte waiting for this verdict. tell me about what you saw on the ground there? >> reporter: well, it was really
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an amazinging night. there were two days of deliberation be building up to this. we had no idea whether the jury was going to continue into the weekend or announce a verdict at any hour. suddenly, we were getting rumblings that the attorney general for the state was here. rumblings that jerry sand sandusky were in a car coming this way and then we got our 20-minute announcement there would be a verdict. the crowd started building. hundreds of people came here. many saying they wanted to be here to witness what was going to be a moment of history. i don't think anybody thought jerry sandusky would be found innocent of many of these charges if any. i think the big question is whether he would be convicted of everything. all 48. here's the headline from the local newspaper. it says "guilty" and a picture of jerry sandusky with a blank stare on his face. one of the victims, hugging the lead prosecutor in the case, in tears and saying, thank you.
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it was that kind of night. that kind of trial. a lot of emotion and as you said in your introduction, this is an institutional problem. there's still a long way to go. there are still many cases to come. >> and ron, obviously, your point about the victim, the survivor standing there. hugging, finding some closure, but in it being a big story, it's about this entire town. in certain ways, about the entire state that have a sense of stake in penn state. in the football coaches. in their sense of attachment to their institution. the cheering crowds, sort of what was that particular set of emotions about? >> reporter: well, it felt like a sporting event. like a rally. and what more fitting for penn state university? because i think more than anything, it's about penn state university and their football program. the president of the college was fired. joe paterno, the legendary coach was fired and then died a couple of months after that.
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there are two other top administrators who are going to face criminal charges in the coming weeks and months. there's an internal investigation that focuses on who knew what and could bring down more administrators at penn state. this has tarnished the school's reputation for perhaps decades to come. hopefully not, but it's very, very enduring and searing what happened here and last nigh, the outpouring of emotion was that. they know it's not the end. in some ways, it's just a beginning. now that we've gotten past jerry sandusky, there's infineate questions remaining. last week, matt sandusky came forward. this goes very, very deep. >> the moment we met matt sandusky, made his story public was emotional for everyone.
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thank you, ron allen. i appreciate you being here to talk with us. i want to turn to you guys. so obviously, i think particularly folks who were in pennsylvania today are emotional. those of us who are parents are emotional. anyone who's ever had a sense of attachment to community based organizations like the one sandusky was running, that sense of vel nulnerability. talk to me about the case, what this means more broadly. >> picture that came to mind several months ago, picture that came to mind was the moment paterno was fired. how dare you do this? now, it doesn't take but a few months and the rally is on the the other side. and this is why we need to be so careful. there's a real problem here. we get swayed by emotions. we want to protect our institutions, our loved ones, but sometimes, we have to remove these blinders and go here is is the real world and the cold hard facts and it was great to be
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congratulatory last night. applauding the the prosecution and this and that, but i kept thinking and saying, where were you in '98? in 2002 even when paterno had to go? how many people were upset saying we don't want to look. we prefer our heroes an status quo. >> what was so striking to me in his closing argument, mr. amendola, he says is it, are we to believe that only in retirement in the last 15 years that this man became a serial child predator? but you can look at that from the other way. it cuts two ways. most likely, he may have been doing this his entire career. it's only been this last period that we know about it and the thing that's so important is that we must respect the, when a child comes forward with a story like this, we must respect it. no matter you know what the circumstances because -- >> you look back and there were even investigations.
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>> even the parents didn't believe them. >> the cops, the university. >> parents. >> and one of the most searing moments, unlike most cases of sexual assault, there was a corroborating eyewitness to one of these assaults and i think that is part of what is so nauseating here. this idea that there was, the institution, people who had very strong reasons to believe this was going on. >> this is just the tip of the iceberg because going forward, there are still others who are going to come forward. there's going to be tremendous liability for second mile. for the university. the department of athletics, maybe even the commonwealth. this is just the tip of the iceberg. it is a great to celebrate this verdict, but there are still so many people out there. it's very commendable these guys can come in and tell their story, but for me, one of the most wrenching things, we didn't see this, but in court, they showed testimony, but showed pictures of them at that age. at age 11.
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a parent, you know, that is really the gut test. that's wrenching. >> penn state was pretty -- we talked about a liability, they were pretty restrained in their comments. saying basically the legal process has spoken. we have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories. no word can undo the pain and suffering, but we hope the judgment helps the victims and families along their path to healing. rather than any sense of their own complicity in this. >> there's one comment, i would love the viewers to look t at the story about the monosenior in philadelphia. we had a verdict yesterday. this was revolutionary in the sense that first time a church administrator was held responsible for endangering a child, but acquitted on conspiracy, so we're back to a lot of catholics on the jury not blaming anybody, but back to, he's the bad guy, we don't want
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to talk about the obvious bigger picture. same thing we've got here. the moment this story broke, i said what we're not going to hear are whether it's alums, powerful alums, the football program, university officials and even law enforcement that knowingly turned their back. >> it's a very parallel situation where their first instinct is to protect joe paterno and we have these kids who have suffered horrific abuse. >> and it's telling these kids who are now adults, you matter less. >> or your dispensable. >> very disturbing. thank you for being here. it's a tough morning, but maybe one where we're starting to get on the path to some healing. maybe for institutions as we start to talk about what is happening here. up next, the secret meetings happening out west this weekend. we're trying to get our foot in the door. let's break out behr ultra... ...the number one selling paint and primer in one,
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i've got a riddle for you. when is left right? the answer is today. because today, the political right wing has taken over the left coast, which this weekend is playing host to the massive, the conservative universe. everyone who's anyone in the republican party at this very moment or once the pacific time coast wakes up is on the west coast attending one of two weekend gatherings where the guest list includes the biggest names in money and power. one of those, mitt romney's three-day retreat in park city, utah. it's going to give 700 of his biggest fund-raisers to get up close with their favorite presidential candidate. if you press your face against the window, you'd see a window full of gop heavy weights.
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former secretary of state condoleezza rice, the 2008 nominee, senator john mccain. vp short lister, bobby jindal and karl rove just to name a few. my kind of party. karl rove, condi rice. but now, about 750 miles southwest of park city is san diego, california. and it's the sight of another convention organized by charlotte and david koch. the billionaires who bankroll conservative causes and keep democrats up at night with nightmares of attack ads funded by bottomless pockets. if you press your face up against that window, you'd see, well not very much. you'd see, let's just say that the window is a lot less transparent. the koch convention is so shroud ed in sec rese, the san diego alternative weekly is trying to
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find the contest to figure out where in the city it's even being held. politico.com says that the koch brothers operation has evolved into something more kin to a political party and that it is focused on power and extending their reach. many of the dozens of rich invitees are expected to write huge checks to poole cash and potentially boosting the koch's spending plan beyond their $395 million goal. also a chance for them to show off their robust machine. here in nerdland, we're not ones to suffer conspiracy theorys kindly. we've taken great pains to debunk the idea of secret back room meetings of millionaires and billionaires plotting to take over the country, but then
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we see the political article about a secret meeting of millionaires and billionaires to expand their already formidable political power to take over the country. or at least to turn it into a place more suitable to their business interests. we got a little uncomfortable, so now let me stay this clearly, we do not have 100% certainty that the meeting is even taking place. we called multiple representatives for the koch brothers and their interests. we spoke with one and asked point-blank can you confirm or deny that such a meeting is taking place by multiple media outlets. he chose to neither confirm nor deny. it is that big a secret. and to be fair, rich liberals, the few that we have, they're also having their own secret meetings, but these are citizens, private citizens well within the rights of americans to come together. a group of kind of like minded individuals talk about how they
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like to spend their money, but when that influences the outcome of elections, it stops being among friends and when it's among our shared and public democracy, aren't we entitled to know what's going on inside? joining me, lee fang, an investigative reporter, also, kathleen hall jamison and professor. alicia mendez, host of -- and peter edlemen, law professor at georgetown law. you were thrown out of one of these koch brothers secret meetings. >> i found out about the similar event that happened in january in indian well and given the the importance of these meetings and how they affect public policy, i decided to try to check myself spoot hotel and find what i could report.
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i went to the airport there and cataloged the planes as they came in to figure out who are these donors because it's 100% secret. two years ago, i was the first to report a -- that explained what really goes on at these events and that's kind of how the public started to take an interest. >> so, koch is probably a name most new yorkers know from their philanthropic work. if i said koch, you would think about them at art patrons or hospital, you know, emergency room patrons. why are -- and the reason is because their names are on their fill an. wi ke why keep their political work secret? >> here's one important detail of the koch meetings. the person who hands out the
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grands to the think tanks, these two gentlemen named richard fink -- they also double as the chief lobbyists. their man job is to advance to the business interest. it's for the private business interest of that multinational conglomerate that is koch industries. >> we get in trouble sometimes when we're trying to trace what's going on with koch money. private industry or private individuals giving money to public concerns is part of what america is. is there something different about what's going on with koch? >> there is. when you look at their fill an tlopic, it's very much with an elite set of people.
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we know what they're in there talking about. the deregulation. about making sure that things like the estate tax are not renewed in the next congress. they are exclusively looking at things that benefit a very small portion of people and that's why they don't want it to be out there in the public. >> so, what's wrong with that? if i'm a wealthy person, i'm an american and my interests are in the estate taxes. i have an estate to pass on. what's wrong with me using the resources i have to bring to bear? if i'm on older person, i get together with my friends at a aarp and try to address things that will address older folks. if i'm in the naacp, we're going to make sure we've got racial justice happening. how is it they're different from these interest groups using the resources they have? whether it's money or being able to mobilize voters? >> in 2010, the koch brothers
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called the regulation reality tour. they were upsponsoring a bus to in pivotal states where they wanted to pressure senators to pass legislation to restrict the epa to regulate carbon emissions. but the group went out and they dressed as epa police and would go out to people as kind of street theatre and said if the epa is allowed to move forward, the epa will send these to your church and won't even allow you to breathe. they used a lot of misinformation and never said who they were being funded by, a big conglomerate. >> is it misinformation? not that we can't press our nose up against the window because we don't know what building. is it because they're using misinformation? >> when you get further removed from the candidate, you become more attack driven and
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deceptive. you do it on the left and right. when add versaillesing moves to political parties to candidates, when packs emerge, same thing happened. what you're seeing now is the distinction between c4s, which don't have to disclose anything and superpacs. and what we sue when we looked at that pattern this year, we looked to the top four spending and then -- that was in fact the fourth on the list. for the primary period through wisconsin, we saw 57% of their advertising contained at least one misconception. no disclosure. >> so, if we're talking about c4s, not the campaign, but something farther removed from the candidate, then you're more likely to end up with commercials, advertising that says something that is at least
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somewhat deceptive as trying to make its claim. >> at least one of the fact checking groups considered to be deceptive. so what you're seeing is anonempty tends to breed attack and deception. we ought to worry about this relationship. >> that's a great point. we're going to talk more about the koch brothers and we did invite them and a representative to come on the show, but they declined, but did send us a response and i'm going to read that resmons, so don't go away. we're at chicago's renowned saloon steak house where tonight we switched their steaks with walmart's choice premium steak. it's a steakover! it's flavorful. it's so juicy. the taste...it's fantastic. it's probably the best steak i've had. only one in five is good enough to be called walmart choice premium. tastes like a five star steak. tonight you were actually eating walmart steak. are you serious? wow. scrumdeliumcious. tomorrow will be the day i will buy walmart steaks.
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representative to join us on this show. they sent a statement. the statement reads charles koch and david are publicly and consistently advocated for limited government, individual liberty and economic freedom for more than 50 years. they have opposed policies that are countered to these principles regardless of whether republicans or democrats were in power. they have long supported a lot of groups, thoughtful, reliable, free market solutions to the pressing economic solutions facing our country. charles and david support these groups because of their desire to restore this great country to the principles of individual liberty and freedom upon which it was founded and to put a halt to the unchecked government. you could actually read their entire statement to us, it is up on our website. still with me are -- i was
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really excited about the koch brothers being here. they also very pointedly went around the table. we told them who we would be speaking with and at each point, they suggested everyone at the table was also guilty of the things they are, which is se secrecy. they said you don't disclose your donors. alicia, your former employer, the new democrat network keeps their donors' contributions not public and then they said of us as professors, that we go to academic conferences that do not allow the media and i can't even imagine what the media would want to know. i think we'd be really excited
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to have some press at our conferences, even if we would have very low ratings. so what say you to these statements by the koch brother foundati foundation? >> i couldn't wait to hear what the accusation was. i mean, i've work eed for a university. chair of a foundation. everything that i do, i am on the board of the center for american progress action fund. everything i do is disclosed where the money comes from. completely. >> and you know, i work for united republic. we disclose our donors, so i'm not sure where koch is getting their facts. in 2009, they put out aggressive statements to the media, we have nothing to do with the tea party. now they say we're proud to support the tea party and we've also financed them. >> the tea party, maybe the one that, well, there's a lot that irritated. it's one of the ones that irritates me the most. to the extent the tea party was
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a grass roots movement that came up legitimately from folks who lost, but said i still have a voice, in that sense, i would support the tea party. not substantively, but in thinker right to have a voice even if you lose an election. but to the extent they are backed and funded by interests to make them appear to be grass roots when they are not, i find that much more distressing. >> right and it goes back to their point about their misinformation and their the at theatrics. >> so, despite the fact they don't disclose everything, we have some numbers. this is from the center for american progress action fund who takes about where the koch financial insolence goes. there's 85 million donated to advocacy groups. 45 million spent in the 2010
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midterms, 1.2 to governors in 2010. 5.2 to state elections. 395 million for a spending goal for 2012. now, when you look at sort of which individual congressman, each individual senator, sometimes, it adds up to nothing more than $2500. $4,000. you're not buying a lot of influence for $4,000, but when you look at 395 million as their spending goal in 2012, i just sort of wonder what else is there that could counter such a powerful force. >> especially since they've been doing this for a long time. progressives, it's taken them much longer to come to the table, so when you look at the first number, that's infrastructure that they've been building for the last 20 years. and that now is paying off in dividends. whether that is legislation they've been crafting at their think tanks that now shows up, sometimes you think these pieces of legislation, no, these come from these places and these
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organized efforts come from these places and that is the thing that progressives will have a very hard time responding to. >> are we just mad that we don't have rich koch brothers? i'm reading about the fields and fords and the fact there's a ton of money on the left. although it's not a ton. it's a little dribble of money on the left that helps to fund progressive policy makes. are we just hating because we don't have folks this rich to push our agenda? >> well, no, all of the things, the marshall field family of chicago, the new york branch was very liberal. did their giving through publicly disclosed situations. this is totally different. what you have here, which is so important to the conversation is
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that some of the individual things they're doing, it's the aggregate and the aggregate is fueled and supported and enabled by citizens units. it's the fact that so much of the money is not the $2500 that goes to the individual congressperson. it's all this stuff that is not disclosed. it's just flooding the whole political process. plus, the lack of -- where usually it could be done in term of legislation and we're not doing it. >> thank you so much for coming and talking to us about your reporting. the rest are staying for more and up next, president obama has promised more transparency, but someone says his policies are off the record for most of us. what's so wrong with that? do we need to know everything? that's coming up.
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accusations that the obama administration is being less than forthcoming, that he would set a new standard for transparency in government. a memo is on the white house website and ilt reads quote my administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. we will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. openness will strengthen our democracy, promote efficiency and effectiveness in government. four years later, some of the policies including with holding information about foreign drone strikes and op sitz to the freedom of information request about -- has called that commitment into question. now, it would be easy to just accuse is administration in failing in its commitment, but i think the more interesting question is to ask what role
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transparency plays in our domestic and foreign politics? what do we want to know? what do we need to know and do we end up with better policy if more people are in on the secrets? joining our conversation, university professor at is university of connecticut and still with me -- do we end up with better policy if in fact more people are in on more of the secrets of how we govern? >> it's one of those things that you can't give one simple answer to and like many things in the democrat system, this issue of balance. the the thing that we have was kind of a guiding maxim is that sun light is the best disinfectant. we think that the public should know everything. watergate comes to mind with clinton and the issues with the secret service, those are instances when the attempts to have executive prif lemgs are trying to prevent the public
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from knowing something they should know. at the same time, we look at things and say there's an importance to secrecy and that's one good example. the nona dekripgss which occurred during the cold war when the u.s. government has decrypted soviet transmissions dispatches to spies that were in the united states and sat on that information. they recognized that by disclosing that even within the federal government, it was likely it would get back to these very same spies and they would change their codes. >> i think that many americans will get on the side of okay, for national security, we're going to need some secrets, right? and i think we're fairly willing to allow our administration to make those choices. i'm going to suggest that secrecy can have value, even in domestic politics. part of what i feel like is going on with gridlock is you
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can't get a good log rolling going in congress. remember, it was how you got you know, domestic policies passed because this hand washed this hand and sort of folked got it going because it was happening as deal making behind closed doors. not everybody was being held accountable to everything. is that me wanting a little corruption in my tea nrd to sort of keep the process going forward? is it much better if we know everything? >> i think you're being a little idealistic. i don't think log roll's available right now. the answer on the other side is no to everything. it's the tea party. >> every vote is going to be made public to their constituents who have said go and say no, right? >> i think it's more than that. i think there are about, really taking grover norquist very seriously.
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so, we have the understand the y yen and yang here. the fast and furious, the house has sited attorney general ho holder for contempt. this is pure politics. this isn't about some high minded idea that there should be disclosure and law enforcement is a le jet mat area for executive privilege. >> far less frequently than his pr -- >> absolutely so. we have to understand that the areas in which we say there's appropriateness of executive privilege are very fuzzy on the edge, so it's easy for a person to claim national security and very hard to get at that and that's where we get into a political realm of publicly calling for more disclosure and having an argument over what's appropriate and what's not. but we really need to say these things for what they are. what they're trying to do to
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eric holder and from time to time, i would say the democrats, when we had that division, are not blameless. but this is just pure politics. >> yeah, and let me ask you about a broader political question on this transparency. and this goes back to the koch brothers. what we do is hold people accountable by voting. you need to know so that we can vote them in or out of office and it feels like with thekoch brothers, we want to know so we can vote, buy their products or not. is there any claim for secrecy or is it all about no, we've got to know so we can hold them accountable? >> you mean is there any claim dmoesicily? i think people have the right to not have that information out in the public, but i believe citizens united has taken away what was supposed to be the backstop to that, which is when
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they did give to some of these super pacs, which is where a lot of the ads we've been talking about, that's where the money goes. we would know who's giving what and when and the fact that we no longer have that information and that politics, especially this year. it's going to be a dwgame of battleship where you can come in and october and drop a ton of money on a race and change the game. that's not the way the system is supposed to be set up. up next, why would a governor veto a bipartisan bill that may affect the life? we'll tell you about that after the break. ♪ [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks... ♪ ...to our city streets... ♪ ...to skies around the world...
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would have provided seventh graders with a free vaccine for hpv. according to the governor, it would be quote another taxpayer funded mandate. now, hpv is known to cause cervical cancer in more than 12,000 women and will kill more than 4,000 women a year. governor hailey once supported a bill that would require the vaccination. but has sense changed her position. despite the fact that the center for disease control recommended the vaccine be given to all teen girls and women through the age of 26. joining me from columbia, south carolina is a bill's sponsor. nice to see you. >> thank you for having me on. >> what's the matter with south carolina? why would a bill that is impactful on young people's health suddenly turn into a partisan fight? >> well, i'm not sure i can
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answer that question. when i sponsored the bill, all i was trying to do was help remedy some of the despairties we have here in health care. and many are due to access. our governor unfortunately put politics in front of women's health and i think that's a travesty. we have one more opportunity on tuesday to override her veto and i need a few more votes, so i'm doing this show this morning and going around the state hoping we can finally take a progressive step forward and create healthy communities. >> you know, with all due respect, when i first saw that you had cosponsored this, i thought wait a minute, how does he do this and the mother of a 14-year-old girl, governor hailey, end up vetoing this. tell me how you became the one to introduce this? >> i'm only 27 years old, but i've been here for six years in the state house and what i like to do every day is try to make sure that people have quality and first class health care and
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that was a way we could do that. the medicine was on our side. the health care community supported us and i thought that we were half the way there and i really thought she was going to support the bill and she didn't. she's trying to prove something someone and she was right with hi pock rasy. in 2007, she supported the bill. a more firm mandate than this is. >> your bill is not a mandate, right? it simply means that more people have access because it would provide in the context of the state having sufficient funding -- >> that is very much correct. and we do both boys and girls. and hpv in boys causes oral cancer and we've seen a spike in those as well. i don't have any ill feelings towards the governor or any one else. but what i do want to do is continue to move the state forward to stop having decisions about why south carolina cannot
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get in the 21st century. this is one small step, but the country's watching and i think we can do some good things here. >> i would love to be able to have you back and to have you report to me, look, in south carolina, we made a decision to put children's health, young people's health in front of politics. so, i hope that that happens for you. >> well, thank you and thank you and your viewers and we need their prayers and their phone calls and maybe they can just flood the governor's office so we can get this victory. this is important. to the health care of our state. this is important to the children of our state. and that's what i'm here fighting for. i need your support. >> thank you. i greatly appreciate you joining me this morning. coming up, what is the number of americans who are so-called food stamps? man: there's a cattle guard, take a right. do you have any idea where you're going ? wherever the wind takes me. this is so off course.
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one thing used to be liable that even in the most polarized times, the senate would pass the
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farm bill with bipartisan support and on thursday, the senator approved a ten-year funding bill with a vote in support of nearly $1 trillion in spending. the bill which overhauling government subsidies is expected to hit the house floor next week and while a few senators will be patting each other on the back this weekend, there were a few sticking points. $20 billion in cuts to s.n.a.p. formerly known as food stamps. this was a debate about a lot of big numbers, band died back and forth with a lot of conclusions. like how each side interpreted 45 million. that's the number of americans who depend on government assistance to feed themselves. in 2011 alone, the number of people receiving this, one out of seven americans. that's a population about the
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size of spain and congressional republicans pointed to the number 70, the percent of increase in 2011 in the s.n.a.p. program and 78 billion, a high in annual spending on food assistance, which has more than doubled in that same period, making s.n.a.p. the second largest social safety net program behind medicaid. it makes up 80% of farm bill spending, so republicans call for billions to be cut in aid for the hungry, he called it modest reform. which led senate democrats to point to a few numbers of their own. 46. 2 million, that's the number of americans living in poverty in 2010. which was the fourth annual increase and the largest number in 52 years. citing the usda and secensus reports, so for kristen gillibrand, it is an essential
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welfare program not only to save people from going hungry, but for every s.n.a.p. dollar $1.79goes back into the national economy. but the end of the week, a more modest reduction by $4.5 billion. republicans called it important savings by closing a loop hope hole. so while some democrats point to those americans depend, will have to make due with less. when we come back, when is being most impacted by this? it might surprise you. the wheat in every mini-wheat has gotta be just right.
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our cloud is made of bedrock. concrete. and steel. our cloud is the smartest brains combating the latest security threats. it spans oceans, stretches continents. and is scalable as far as the mind can see. our cloud is the cloud other clouds look up to. welcome to the uppernet. verizon. welcome back. for those of you who are just joining us, there was news late last night out of belafonte, pennsylvania and it was a guilty
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verdict. former penn state university football defensive coordinator jerry sandusky was convicted of 45 counts and will face a sentence of at least 60 years. the prosecutor cougs argued that prepreyed on children through his foundation. the charity meant to help those most vulnerable highlights just how at risk our poor children are. in so many ways, not only from pedophiles, but also from poverty and hunger, which is where we're going to go now, to a conversation about the fact this week, the biggest spending bill passed the senate. the farm bill provides $969 billion in spending over the next decade for food security for the nation's hungry. but the arm of welfare is also extended to those who produce the food. $90 billion will be spent on
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crop insurance. so if our producers experience weak yields or low prices, the federal government will make sure they get through until the next growing season. insurance companies can also depend on a steady flow of cash. a government sponsored insurance policy for our biggest insurance companies. that is a kind of welfare to work that we don't often talk about. with me, peter edleman, kathleen jamison, alicia mendez and giuliani cobb. peter, at 2:00 in the morning, i could not sleep, really couldn't sleep as i was reading your book. i think what i found so fascinating about this was the history of how we got to having a program for food stance. it's tv, but give me the briefest version of what that
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history is. >> the start is when the campaign went down to mississippi in 1967 and it was my privilege to go with him at the staff person and i met my wife on that trip, too. so, it's pretty important for me. but we saw, it was just shocking. we saw children there who had swollen bellies, who had sores on their arms and legs. it was like a third or fourth world country. unbelievable in the united states of america. doctors went down and examined kids after that, found pernicious anemia, unbelievable. >> in the middle of the 20th century in the united states of america. >> the important thing at the end of the story, we found people with literally no income. that's the long story in changes of the agricultural economy and
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trying to drive people out of the state. no income. going through a period that includes president nixon sent a message to congress, we get food stamps at a national program to the point we don't have that near starvation. we have 20 million people with incomes half the poverty line. 6 million people who have no income other than food stamps, which only provides an income a third of the poverty line, but we have that. >> so at least they're eating. kathleen, i know some of your work has been on framing. i'm reading peter's book and thinking this is the story of a government program that worked. that the kind of poverty that kennedy saw there in the 1960s, that kind of poverty rarely existed. that kind of hunger associated with poverty is very rare in our country now, and yet every additional person or family relying on food stamps is an indication that we're failing as
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a country rather than an indication of look what a great job we're doing making sure people don't fall below some kind of basic, humane basis. how did that framing shift? >> well, first, when you take the language of s.n.a.p. and use that, you're using an acronym that gives nothing to anybody about the problem being addressed. first, they ought to be accused of linguistic malfeasance. under that program of people who are in need and hungry and cared for -- ultimately led to this initiative and if you look back at one of the most important ads produced in 1964, you have a major advertising agency that showed children not adults, white children, black children. children in real environment, urban environment.
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the most poignant moment, there's a child praying over practically an empty plate with a small piece of bread. what was that frame that said children are hungry. in the united states. how can we tolerate that? that's the alternative. >> and thest a very powerful frame. in love with this new piece by monica potts in the american prospect and part of what she does here is to talk about this poor county in kentucky because in part of the issue here, the food stamp language we heard from gingrich, president obama is the food stamps president is racialized. so part of what happens when you read monica's piece around the struggle in poverty in this town in kentucky, you recognize poverty is a shared condition across racial categories. >> it's also a shared condition across class. i grew up in union city, new jersey. it's one of the 100 most economically depressed.
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a will the of my class were in the projects, on food stamps. you'd go to their house to do homework and you'd see their moms poring over newspapers looking for jobs. they didn't live in the poor section of town and go to the poor school. what happened to them -- >> they do now. >> 20 years ago, not the case and what happened to them happened to all of us. and if that child shows up hungry in a classroom and is disruptive for very honest reasons, that disrupts the entire class. the fact we do not see this issue in that way in a sense of community i think is as much a problem in term of the framing. >> can i just touch on a point. one in term of the framing of this, during the great depression, the farm security administration actually sent out photographers. when we see that great
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depression photography, that was government sponsored photography. gordon parks, one of the photographers here. what they did was go out and give the country an image of what poverty looked like. a sympathetic image. when we're looking at poverty now, the image we have is the subdivision with the foreclosed home. it does not resognate, register with us in the same way. really quick about the food stamp language. this actually was a stamp. it was a physical stamp that people would get. you could spend a dollar and get $1.50 worth of groceries. >> and it's fascinating that you say the government u would send out photographers for us to see the poor. because i'm thinking, okay, but every time we talk about the poverty rates, even just the numbers that i just provided, in many ways, the obama
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administration is being blamed for them. for the idea that the obama administration would send out photographers to capture it, we need a craft a social safety net, we hear back from the right quite regularly from them is well, yeah, there's poor people and that's your fault, right? i was so stunned that to read that first of all, bob dole of kansas was one of the most notable republican advocates that he actually fought back and then particularly the position you make between president bill clinton whose administration you left when he signed the 1996 welfare reform act and president george w. bush who supported the food stamp program sochl so much so there was an increase in food stamps under george bush prior to the recession. i'm sorry, until i got to this
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moment in your book, that was not something that i think most folks are aware of. >> this is new and it's part of an attack of the attack on an all government. except things that help rich people. and it's a continuation of the racialization that we've had about poverty policy for a long time. food stamps was accepted from that. the obvious fact is there are more people who are white poorer than there are black or latino, but from reagan with the woman in the white cadillac coming up to the store with her food stamps to willie horton, we've had use of race against poor people and minorities for a very long time and what's happened now is the food stamps have joined that bad list, so what they want to do, this thing that happened in the senate the other day, just the tip of the
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iceberg. they want to go after the whole thing. they want so slash medicare, medicaid. >> take it all. >> food stamps is the new welfare for them. the idea and you know, there's a lowell right to food stamps. you go to the office and you have to get it. there's no long ernie legal right to welfare. so guess what? in the recession, food stamps went from 26 million to 46 million people. that's a good thing. >> because people were hungry and we had something to help. >> 3.9 million to start. 4.4 million. barely helpful. that's why we have 6 million people on food stamps with no other income. this is about mothers, children. >> and them being able to participate in school. whether or not they're going to be able to have a future, so up next, is it the ultimate question voters are going ask themselves as they go to the polls in november? are we better off today than four years ago? and a different meaning that we
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this week, the presumptive republican nominee mitt romney has been hitting president obama on his main argument, the economy. and yes, there are some numbers for him to go on. the federal reserve reported this month that the net worth of the american middle class has plumeted drastically, dropping by an average of $50,000 from tef to 2010. yet this week, 45% of those surveyed in a bloomberg national poll said they were better off since president obama took office. huh? is it possible that better off means something beside our bottom lines? here with me to discuss is peter
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edlman, catherine jamison, alicia mendez and giuliani cobb of the university of connecticut. i found those numbers interesting and wanted to think about them in the same framework. is an increase good because it's an indication that we are caring for people with very little or bad because it means we're creating government depentsy. although we have a million more african-americans with jobs this year than last may, here in new york city, african-americans are missing out on the rebound of jobs and yet, polls where you talk to african-americans actually feel better about president obama being in office, are there things that can't be fully captured by whether or not you have a job, something about our collective willingness to take care of each other? >> yes, often they were. president obama got elected at the bottom of president bush's
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recession, but it's moving in the right direction and i'm glad to hear those numbers about how people feel because it says to me that they have a sense that we're moving all albeit slowly in the right direction. what we want is for people to have jobs. good jobs, jobs that pay enough to live on and dwoent want to have food stamps. that's the help when we have trouble. >> it's not just about unemployment rates. it's also about living wages for families to manage on their own. >> over the next coming out of the recession, we have long range trouble that we have to talk about. 50% of the jobs in this country pay less than $34,000 a year. unbelievable and the wage has been stuck for almost 40 years. has grown only 7% in real terms. >> and low income housing put out data last week saying there's no state in the union
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where you can live on a full time minimum wage job. you cannot rent a sufficient two bedroom apartment. can you even imagine a time when we can get past a politics that is only about politics on something like food? is there any possibility of a kind of like core ethical sort of american sense of our need to take care of one another in tough times? >> i'm an encourageable optimist, so i say yes. but it takes a lot of work. we've talked about this before about just the kind of callousness we've encountered in the way that we have very little by way of sympathy for our common citizen. the idea there is a civic connection among us is frayed. those are the things that are at the heart of this. even when you look at toward the point peter was making, food stamps and what it does, we're talking about people making $23,000 a year for a family of three and half the people in this are making half or less
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than that. so what we're doing is saying can muster the will to move people from abject poverty to simple poverty. >> that's actually worth saying again, that we're not talking about a middle class entitlement as "the wall street journal" said, right? not a middle class entitlement. it's about move iing from abjec poverty to simple poverty. like how can we not have the political will for is that? >> i don't know, but the issue does extend into the middle class and when you look at an issue like keeping people in their homes, you want your neighbor to be able to stay in their home because if their home is forclosed on, the entire of the entire block drops. >> and let's be clear that the problems, there are serious problems in the middle class. they are being squeezed. if we talk about the 1% and 99%,
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it goes down to the bottom and the other thing is we've done a lot and need to remember that all the time. the public policies that we have are keeping 40 million people out of poverty. >> social security worked. food stamps worked. they're actually not failing programs. i'll give you the last word on this one. >> one of the questions is who's being surveyed? the poor aren't likely to get into these surveys and you've got that part of the population that not only is doing welcome paired to where they were, they're doing substantially better it's not a way to get a snapshot of what's out there and then secondly, what do you mean when you say better off than than. what's the than? remember, this rescission lasted into the first year of this presidency. you frame it back to 2008 and now you don't have a legitimate point of comparison. ask me 27 months and now, you've got a different point of reference. if you're in the public sector, it looks worst than it does if you're in the private sector for unemployment.
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>> in fact, the president's been harping on that point, that the public sector has been the one shedding jobs and the good news means the public sector could fix this by hiring. thank you, peter. i appreciate you being here. up next, nerdland hits the road. i return to one of my old stomping grounds. the south side of chicago, where the historian i met with said of course the first black president came from chicago. where else would he have come from? laces? really? slip-on's the way to go. more people do that, security would be like -- there's no charge for the bag. thanks. i know a quiet little place where we can get some work done. there's a three-prong plug. i have club passes. [ male announcer ] get the mileage card with special perks on united, like a free checked bag, united club passes, and priority boarding. thanks. ♪ okay. what's your secret?
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beneful. play. it's good for you. and i thought "i can't do this, it's just too hard." then there was a moment. when i decided to find a way to keep going. go for olympic gold and go to college too. [ male announcer ] every day we help students earn their bachelor's or master's degree for tomorrow's careers. this is your moment. let nothing stand in your way. devry university, proud to support the education of our u.s. olympic team. as a little girl, one can assume that michelle robinson never imagined she would be the first lady of the united states. while her story is extraordinary, it's not entirely exceptional. her family was one of the
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millions of black families that migrated to the north in the early decades of the 20th century, yet even as she took her place in history, the great migration that made her story possible had begun to reverse. the first decade of the 21st century has seen a reverse my gracious and as of 2010 -- 18.1% in the midwest and 9 west. and from 2000 to 2010, more than thee quarters of the african-american population growth occurred in the south. why the change? to understand the present, we have to discuss the past, so i recently visited the museum of african-american history in chicago to learn more about the great migration. i lived in hyde park for many years and it is a destination, in terms of the community, but
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tell my viewers what is this place? >> well, we are the first african-american museum in the nation. it is the african man from haiti who came here and founded this city. they was first nonnative settler in chicago. he started businesses. became a part of this. he opened up a number of places. he had big business. it is on his shoulders that everything else that has happened out of chicago for the black community rests. chicago's a very special place. >> were you surprised that the first african-american president, the first african-american first lady found their roots here in chicago? >> absolutely not. where are they from? your major leader of major organizations nationally, they come from, there's something in the water, you know. or else some kind of special
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magic. they give chicago this flavor, this feeling. a certain militancy if you will. >> yep. >> that would lead us to feeling that we were strong enough. >> for folks who may not know what the great migration is, tell us what it is for black people. >> well, in the last several decade of the 20th century, 7 million african-americans moved from the south to the north. this was a post reconstruction move. several people tried to stay to varying degrees of success. it was a hard time as you know. they came back with more repressive laws, so people began to move seeking freedom, opportunity, seeking jobs of course. >> and the story of michelle obama is deeply linked to the story of chicago and the great migration. >> actually, her grandfather came here and they were part of the movement for opportunity and freedom. so michelle robinson obama's
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family is typical of many of the families that came here. they wanted jobs. they wanted freedom. they were tired of the jim crow south and chicago seemed like it had the welcome mat out. you were hearing about it everywhere. we sang songs about it. going to chicago, sorry, but i can't take you. this was the place to come. the music was coming from here. everything seemed to be imnating. there was an energy and it was palatable. >> and that energy is part of what drew families like the robinsons. >> i'm part of the great migration and i came in the late '60s because i was from kentucky. graduating from college in tennessee so i'm trying to decide where i'm going to go and feel free. >> understanding the great migration, where am i going to go where i can feel free. it helps us to understand and explain the backgrounds and ideals of today's african-americans in positions of power and influence, people
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like first lady michelle obama and at the table. the author of american tapestry. so glad you're here today. >> thank you so much for having me. >> i greatly enjoyed the book. i am as many of us are, obsessed with michelle obama, so it was really lovely to read this. but i've noticed a lot of the reporting around the book has focused specifically on the dna question and her white ancestry. which is fascinating and important and worthying about. but i also, what i found so important about your book is it's not just michelle's dna story. it's you know, not just the the first lady's individual story. it is this whole big story, this siren song of the north. how the robinsons even end up in this place. talk to me about first lady michelle obama as part of this larger process. >> the book really is a look at american history through the lens of a family. the first family.
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and you're right. it is much more than just dna. it's, i try to trace the journeys of her ancestors across the generations and the migration was a big part of that story for them. >> what happens when we sort of pause and look into the backgrounds and personal histories of our leaders? i know there's been some anxiety about what happens if we trace back, particularly for those of us who have slave ancestry and ancestors who were part of jim crow. how did you deal with the politics and anxiousness that has emerged around that? >> you know, some of this is hard history. it's hard for people to look back and think about hard times. mrs. obama's family has front row seats to some of the biggest moments in history and some of those moments were in the easy ones. slavery, segregation. but i think it tells us something about ourselves, too. >> as much we talk about dna, i was kind of pushing back. i love this picture here because this is a picture of the
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robinson family. typically, you think that the adult sitting there is michelle. >> i know, it really is. >> i don't -- no one could ever deny that michelle robinson obama is the woman. what about that particular family? that foursome? what should we know about our first lady that comes from how she was raised in that family? >> really, my book deals with going beyond that family. looking at her grandparents. and michelle obama often describes herself as a south side girl, born and raised in the south side of chicago, but her ancestors were in illinois in the 1860s, so they were there a long, long time even before the migration really got going. >> you're going to stay with us because we're going to open this up and talk more about not just special people like first lady obama, but also special places. american cities, so up next,
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we're going to talk about the reverse migration and also, why cities matter. they matter. they matter. [ groans ] [ marge ] psst. constipated? phillips' caplets use magnesium, an ingredient that works more naturally with your colon than stimulant laxatives, for effective relief of constipation without cramps. thanks. good morning, students. today we're gonna continue... thanks. it's time to live wider awake. only the beautyrest recharge sleep system combines the comfort of aircool memory foam layered on top of beautyrest pocketed coils to promote proper sleeping posture all night long. the revolutionary recharge sleep system... from beautyrest. it's you, fully charged.
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today, african-americans are heading back to the south inching closer to 60% living below the mason dixon line and what will this mean for the political power of black communities? can these new southerners change solidly republican states into battlegrounds or will they find themselves trapped into conservative strongholds. the great migration which we've been talking about created generations of political power and ultimately, an african-american first family. what will the return to the south mean for black political power? not only on the national stage, but also in local elections.
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at the table -- so you guys were all sitting here when i was screaming to my daughter saying, my daughter was born on the south side of chicago, i said to her, are you a chicago south side girl or do you think of yourself as a new orleanian. what difference do you think that will make politically for us? >> i think it would be a very important difference. one of the things we talked about, 1932 through 1964 transition of african-americans into the democratic party, but what we don't talk about is why shed to be receptive. as you begin to have black people moving into northern cities, all of a sudden mayors
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and city council representatives think they have to be concerned about the individuals living in these states. this makes the party change its stance. the split personality moment of blacks coming north and of southern segregationists. we're looking at this in reverse. >> if you look at blue states, they're not actually blue states. just blue cities. >> right. jackie robinson. you talk about the integration of baseball. the dodgers management is looking in brooklyn saying look at who lives here and look at who does not come to dodgers stadium. >> i think it create answer imperative for latinos and african-americans to start working together politically.
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when you look at the migrations happening in other ways, georgia, in each of those states hispanics are not 8% or more of the population. states like virginia where they are tipping presidential elections. we're not a big enough population by ourselves. and if you can actually get these two groups to start working in unison, i think you'll see a much faster pace towards that change. >> obviously, that question of background coalitions was initially an urban question. it was initially los angeles and the big cities, but it is becoming a sbuburban question ad whether or not we can end up with black brown coalitions that provide some of this same kind of incentive from the democratic party. >> and these populations are putting states like virginia and north carolina into play in a big way. >> there's no possibility of president obama carrying virginia and north carolina except for south asian voters,
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latino voters in 2008. is there something as we are thinking about sort of the value of cities, you saw in the case as a space saying vote to be free and to have economic opportunity. are southern cities where people are now returning to now, are southern cities spaces of economic opportunity and personal freedom? >> i think what migration patterns tell you, they move from states that have higher unemployment to states that have lower unemployment. as a result, you get churning inside the population and remixing the population in ways that are extremely productive. so people come into contact with segments of the population that otherwise, they wouldn't have real contact with. particularly if we keep an integrated school structure and as children grow up the other
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chirp, we create a difference. >> makes this argument that cities make a -- often part of the chicago story -- people can go to school with kids of different classes and different races and begin to think about what their interconnections are. >> not long after september 11th, i found myself on a plane and there was a man who got on the plane and he had on a tradition traditional garb. you could see the tension on the plan ratchet up and i see him coming down the aisle. i said to him, where are you from. he got very defensive. he said, where are you from. i said, i'm from queens and if i
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remember correctly, we were in the same break dance crew coming up. i swear to god, this is the truth. and what that spoke to was that cosmopolitan experience. he was a muslim religious background. he was of indian lineage. but me as a person whose family has migrated up to the south and we had this common connection in break dancing and you could see everyone on the plane say he was a break dancer, he's not going to kill us. >> i have no doubt although i'm not on twitter that nerdland must be going nuts for the desire for you to show us some of your break dancing. we've got a whole table here, all that good stuff. i think the other piece, it's part of culture. the very idea of break dancing, of culture, jazz being part of that bridge.
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so we can tell this nice story -- the effects we saw in great migration don't happen again so that black and brown can happen. up next, he's one of our first urban presidents in decades. we'll talk more about this city when we come back. [ shapiro ] at legalzoom, you can take care of virtually
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back with me -- one of the exciting things about president obama being elected is we're going to have this city president, somebody whose life story is connected to the great migration. cities are the great cosmopolitan of the canopy. what can we see now almost four years into an obama presidency and the role of cities in our country? >> i think you see in terms of what he's done, he's put a number of smart birthers. people are focused on transportation, infrastructure, that's one part of the urban experience. just making it more livable on a basic level. but then you also see him trying to replicate things that have worked in other cities. harlem children's zone. trying to expand that out into this promised neighborhoods program. you see a lot of good effort getting stalled in congress. republicans want today give that
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zero dollars for 2012. that is where things are getting jammed up. so a lot of good intention, not the same level of action. >> cities are where democrats are from. when we look at people of color, labor unions which you say exist, all of those things were highly concentrated in urban areas so that partisan divide is a city versus rule debate or rather a city versus suburban divide. >> to lisa's point, what we've seen, good intentions aren't necessarily enough and the best example of this in contemporary po policies has happened with the block of grants. which is a program we don't normally talk about, but the federal government giving money directly to cities and actually ironically under the nixon mrks hoping to get around states. kind of being the middle person in terms of giving money to major cities. and that has been deduced 25%.
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so now the total only 2.9 billion, which is less that was given during the carter administration and so we're talk ing about head start. when we're talking about aft afterschool programs, at the discretion of the cities as you see fit and when you cut that, it makes a serious impact, a ripple effect. >> and we saw it even in the stimulus act, which did go through the states rather than the cities, so things that cities really wanted like infrastructure investment was held up by far more conservative legislature, interested in more suburban and rural interests, rather than the interest of cities, which tended to be greener. bring people together into closer spaces. this reverse migration, is that part of the reason why we're seeing the attempts at voter
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suppression activities? is it so that it doesn't turn red states purple? so that it doesn't have the political effect that the migration had? >> it's the sickening replay of history where you have populations that leave the south precisely because of these reasons and then they return to the south and you find a updated version of this. it's no coincidence that even during reconstruction is done in part because of the election of 1876 in which black voters in florida are disfranchised. people are not allowed -- >> that sounds so -- >> people are not trying to have the turns from florida counted and we're looking at the same thing in 2000 and possibly what happens with eric holder and lawsuit they have here. this being an issue in 2012. >> it is distressing. >> and beyond the voter suppression, i think a lot of
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these immigration pieces of legislature that you see in arizona, in georgia and alabama, it's not just undocumented immigrants who are leaving the the state. it is the mixed status families. you see an exodus of latinos, who are u.s. citizens, leaving these states and i think there is a very similar calculus. >> is it now we have an internal migration also caused by a set of jim crow policies, in this case, antiimmigrant policies. more in just a moment, but first, it's a time for a preview of weekends with alex. >> we have new reaction today on the jerry sandusky verdict. i spoke to one of the victims' attorneys and he tells us the remarkable story of how his client acted. mitt romney and the gop retreat. why are jeb bush and former secretary of state condoleezza rice going? could they be on the short list? the lady bullied on the schoolbus. in a matter of a month, she may
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be a very rich woman. now it's a story about the kindness of strangers. in office politics, martin bashir is at once moving politi bash ir is moving and moving and he'll tell us a love story, melissa. >> i love martin so much. his team stands up there and we have a good time the three of us. >> we did chris last week and we're coming to you soon. >> get our whole floor. up next, how a 17-year-old girl is planning to change the world.
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20 years after hosting the first earth summit, rio welcomed the world for another one. now formerly named the conference on sustainable development. this one was not very well attended though, 193 nations sent leaders to rio, many others just skipped it, including the united states. an activists were not impressed with the paltri solutions that
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emerged from all of the talking over those three days. whether or not politicians believe it exists, climate change is a growing problem. and action can be taken now to stem the damage already done. but the question remains, is there any political will to enact those solutions? making that point forcefully and in the face of those world leaders this week, a 7-year-o17d girl is our foot soldier. she entered the global date with history competition and she won with this video. we could not tear ourselves away from it here in nerd land. here's how she ends it. >> what kind of future do i want? where education encourages innovative thinking and we run with natural processes and not against them. i want a future where leaders will stop talking and start acting. i want a future where leaders
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lead. >> a jury of britney's fellow environmental activists, including leo dicaprio, chose her entry and she traveled to rio to give a speech directly before all of the world leaders who did assemble at the earth summit. she reminded the leaders of the promises earlier from the 1992 earth summit. >> these promises are left not broken, but empty. how can that be? when all around us, there is knowledge that offers us solution. are you here to save face, or are you here to save us? >> so one of the mhp interviewed interviewed britney the day after her speech. when she was asked why it's important for someone her age to
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speak up about environmental concerns. she said, quote, we're going to be the ones who are going to actually bring these promises to life. we're the ones who are going to have to live with them. perfectly stated. for not waiting until she's an adult to speak truth to power to its face about the environment, she and her generation will inherit in the years ahead, brittany tilford is our foot soldier of the week. that is our show for today. congratulations to the miami heat and lebron james on their nba championship and also thank you to rachel and kathleen haul jamison for sticking around. i'll see you tomorrow morning at 10:00. coming up, "weekends with alex witt." high schools in six states enrolled in the national math and science initiative... ...which helped students and teachers get better results in ap courses. together, they raised ap test scores 138%.
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